Active TB presents with fever, night sweats and weight loss, followed by a cough that lasts more than 2 weeks, coughing up blood and sometimes accompanied by chest pain.
Hygiene precautions are most important as well as early detection following exposure.Vaccination is rarely given for travel. The exceptions to this are children under 5 yrs visiting family and relatives or going to live in higher risk countries for prolonged periods.
People living with someone who has active TB disease.
Migrants and refugees, especially those from developing countries. Refugees and asylum seekers are carefully screened for TB on arrival in Australia.
Those who live or work for long periods in countries where TB is common. This includes health care workers, humanitarian workers and volunteers.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in some parts of Australia.
People whose immune systems are weakened by diseases such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes, silicosis or by immunosuppressive therapy.
People living in residential institutions, including prisons, or in crowded, substandard housing or on the streets.
A vaccine against TB is available (BCG). It provides good protection in young children, but is not very effective in adults. BCG is no longer part of routine vaccination for children in Australia because of the low level of risk here. It may be offered to children under 5 years travelling for more than 6 months to high risk countries.
This depends on whether we are looking for active disease or exposure. Our doctors will guide you. Testing can include sputum culture, blood tests (Quantiferon Gold), skin testing (Mantoux Test) and a chest x-ray.
Most TB can be treated and cured with a course of 3 or 4 antibiotics taken together for about 6 months. Good compliance is essential for an effective cure, however antibiotic resistance is increasing globally. Latent TB is treated with a short course antibiotic regime to prevent future illness.